Finally, we are getting Aira’s side of the story. One of the things I really like about Aira’s character was her realistic reaction to having been summoned to this world. Unlike Sei, Aira was shown to be very close to her family. She was just supposed to go to the convenience store, grab dinner and return home again. But just moments after she texted back to her mother, and before she could even take a step out the door, she was summoned to this world. The worst part about it is that she was imeaditely bombarded with the information as the Saint, as opposed to be gently eased into it. Prince Kyle only realized that after she justifiably broke down in front of him when he said there are no records of Saints being able to return home again.
While Aira has gotten to know the somewhat kinder side of Kyle, we the audience know that while he is looking out for her, he is still both an idiot and an obnoxious individual. The audacity to say the reason why he ignored Sei at the ceremony because she looked to be a servant or a wet-nurse (are you FREAKING kidding me?!), so why would the Crown Prince address a woman so clearly beneath him? WOOOOWWWWW, THAT’S SO FREAKING DISRESPECTFUL AND RUDE! Not to mention, he indirectly admitted that he assumed Aira was the Saint just because of her looks. So bugger off dude, your logic doesn’t make any sense!
That’s is also why I find it so hypocritical of him to care about what will become of Aira’s fate, but actively continues to disregard the fact that the same should have been applied to Sei as well. Aira wasn’t the only one summoned over by the ritual he claimed to be responsible for. If that isn’t bad enough, he is in denial that Sei is the Saint. He even doubts the report of how she healed lost limbs!
At this point, it goes without saying Prince Kyle is more concerned about his own succession (as it may end up passed onto the Second Prince Rayne, who we were briefly introduced to today), and the potential fall out for Aira, than Sei. So he decided he will “play” the role of the incompetent, stubborn crown prince so that the court would take pity on Aira’s situation.
By getting the chance to see Aira’s perspective, we were also able to get a better understanding as to why the King decided against loudly and publicly announcing that Sei has been acknowledge to be the Saint. Since Kyle has already prematurely announced Aira to be the Saint to the general public by taking her around town with his entourage, and is constantly boasting about it, both Sei and Aira will suffer from the fallout and potential confusion that comes with this. So while Kyle wants the court to sympathize with Aira, it is clear the optimal resolution to address this problem is to ensure both girls are involved in saving the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter that one of them isn’t the Saint, so as long as they are participating in the process and earning recognition as they do so, it is certainly one way to address the issue while trying to avoid repeating the same mistakes of putting one on a pedestal over the other. Ironically Kyle expressed how he feared if Aira isn’t the Saint, she would be trapped in the palace for the rest of her life. It was a situation Sei had found herself in until she decided to go explore and happen across the Medical Institute.
Speaking of which, we also got to see how differently Aira and Sei adjusted to their new reality. Aira is a quiet and timid girl and she had a much harder time adjusting. That is largely why Kyle has been spoiling and coddling her, because he is trying to find a way to make her happy and comfortable (he even vowed he would try to find a way for her to return home again). But because he doesn’t do it in moderation, and is pretty much doing everything he assumes is Aira’s best interest, he has actively made it increasingly more difficult for Aira to fit in and form relationships outside of his circle. It also doesn’t help that he himself actively ignores the fact it is frowned upon for boys and girls to be friends with each other if one of them is betrothed to another. That’s why the girls have repeatedly tried to explain this to Aira, but Kyle keeps interfering, which just increases the tension between them. We witnessed this again when Elizabeth sought Aira out, and gently introduced herself while expressing she would like to get to know her, but Kyle imeaditely assumed the worse and told Aira to leave with him.
However it goes without saying, while Aira is a good girl, she isn’t doing herself any favors of not having the courage tell Kyle to back off a bit, and have the chance to properly talk to the other girls to at least explain her side of things. But she isn’t quite there yet. It was sad when she saw Sei and Elizabeth in the hall again, but because she was with Kyle and his group, she chose not to greet the girls. In short, Aira wouldn’t be comfortable with doing it unless she knew he wasn’t within the proximity to interrupt them.
On the flip-side of things, Sei experienced the complete opposite. After being ignored and disregarded by Prince Kyle, for her own self-interests, Sei had to put her foot down. While there were some polite officials to help her out, and she was assigned a maid to take care of her, Sei had nobody. But in hindsight, it was because of that she had the freedom Aira didn’t have. It enabled her to do things at her own pace, form relationships, and eventually found something to do that helped her find her place in this world. So the difficult situation ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Overall this was a fantastic episode. One of the reasons for that is because it was the most fleshed out one we have seen yet. This episode showed us more depth for not just Aira, but Prince Kyle as well. We don’t have to like him, but today we were able to see how he is both flawed and is capable of a gentle heart (but not everyone gets to see that, and seemingly not even his own fiance, awkward…) Actually if anything, he is probably the most flawed character of the entire series thus far. While it’s fine to have nice people, it doesn’t hurt to have some tension to shake things up. Just be smart about it, and you can still have a fluffy light-hearted story.
But as I was watching this episode, it put the spotlight on a glaring flaw this adaption has had that has been bugging me for a while now. And that is the obvious lack of depth for many of the characters, namely with Albert. As mentioned last week, we hardly know anything about the guy besides the fact he loves Sei. While it is great all to be spoiled with all the fluffy content between him and Sei, the problem is when that’s all we see, it makes their romance anything but a slow-burn. (Some novel readers may disagree with that assessment, but I consider a romance to be a slow-burn if it takes several volumes before they actually confess to each other, but I digress.)
So I decided to go back and read through the first volume again, and sure enough, if you haven’t read it then you are missing out on a number scenes that shows more of not just Albert’s but also Johan’s character. (But it goes without saying, Albert is definitely the one who got the short-end of the stick… Which is even worse given he is the Sei’s love interest!) It is a shame because just as we saw today, it is extremely beneficial to see characters act on their own when the girls aren’t present. It allows us to see a different side of them, which grants them some depth to their characters.
In hindsight, it’s precisely because there isn’t really a whole lot going of that it just makes these interactions even more invaluable. After-all, it’s the dynamics between them that helps breathes life into them. But by choosing to exclude that, they lose their substance, and consequently can cause these characters feel flat and uninteresting when there is actually more to them. So that’s definitely the drawback this adaption has been experiencing thus far.
And finally, on the more positive note, the animation of the water magic was such a treat to watch!